The San Diego Chargers must have a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the visiting Kansas City Chiefs would like to gain some momentum going into the postseason and end their rival's year with a crushing defeat Sunday. "We know the Chargers are playing for their playoff lives," Chiefs safety Quintin Demps told the team's website. "We're preparing like we're playing for ours too. We have to get better going into the playoffs." Even with a win, the Chargers need some help - losses or ties from both Miami and Baltimore - to slip into the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
San Diego kept its slim postseason hopes alive last week with its third straight win - a 26-13 victory over Oakland. The Chiefs are locked into the No. 5 seed and will open the playoffs on the road, but they're trying to avoid limping into the postseason with two straight losses after an ugly 23-7 home defeat against Indianapolis a week ago. The Chargers have won the past three meetings and 10 of the past 12, including a 41-38 shocker in Kansas City in Week 12.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -9.5. O/U: 45.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (11-4): Kansas City hasn't beaten a team that currently has a winning record since knocking off Philadelphia in Week 3 and has lost three of its last five despite running back Jamaal Charles' outstanding play. Charles has an AFC-best 1,287 rushing yards and is trying to lead the conference in rushing for the second straight season, and he's also one of the Chiefs' top receivers with 70 catches for 693 yards and an NFL-best 19 touchdowns (12 rush, 7 receiving). The defense allows an AFC-low 18.5 points per game and has 44 sacks, but it has been less than impressive in the second half of the season
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (8-7): San Diego has found balance on offense in recent weeks and had enough success against the Raiders to overcome three turnovers. Running back Ryan Mathews has come on at the end of the season, compiling at least 99 rushing yards and a touchdown in three straight games, but was held out of practice Thursday because of an ankle injury. The defense that struggled for most of the season has allowed 20 points or fewer in four straight games and has held three straight opponents under 100 yards rushing.
1. The Chiefs are tied with the 2008 Miami Dolphins and 2012 Indianapolis Colts for the most victories in NFL history by a team that won two or fewer games the previous season.
2. Chargers TE Antonio Gates (9,162) needs 42 receiving yards to surpass Charlie Joiner for the second-most in franchise history.
3. San Diego WR Keenan Allen (66 receptions, 957 yards) holds the franchise rookie record for catches and needs 45 yards to pass John Jefferson (1978) for the most by a Chargers rookie.
PREDICTION: Chargers 23, Chiefs 20